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Dani California

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Dani California

"Dani California"
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album Stadium Arcadium
B-side "Million Miles of Water"
"Whatever We Want"
Released April 3, 2006
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single, digital download
Recorded March–December 2005 at The Mansion in Los Angeles, California
Genre Funk rock, alternative rock
Length 4:42
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Flea, Frusciante, Kiedis, Smith
Producer(s) Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers singles chronology
"Save the Population"
"Dani California"
"Tell Me Baby"
Music video
"Dani California" on YouTube

"Dani California" is a single from the American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers' ninth studio album, Stadium Arcadium. The single was first made available at the iTunes Music Store and then was officially released on May 2, 2006. The international radio premiere was April 3, 2006, when Don Jantzen, from the Houston radio station KTBZ-FM, played "Dani California" continuously for his entire three hour program.[1]

The single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 24 and peaked at number 6, becoming the band's third single (after "Under the Bridge" and "Scar Tissue") to enter the top-ten. In addition, "Dani California" became the second song in history (after R.E.M.'s 1994 hit "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?") to debut at number 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, where it spent fourteen straight weeks topping the chart. The single also charted at number 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts.[2] The song won two Grammy Awards, one for Best Rock Song and the other for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[3] It also marked the band's joint-biggest UK hit to date along with "By the Way", peaking at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart, being kept out of number 1 by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy".


  • Origins and character 1
  • Reception 2
  • Music video 3
  • Track listing 4
  • Chart performance 5
  • Certifications 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Origins and character

Throughout the song, lyricist Anthony Kiedis laments the early death of Dani, a poor, young Southern girl who eventually lived in California, became a mother and lived a hard, fast, unsettled life.[4] Kiedis has commented that the character of Dani is composite of all the women with whom he has had relationships. The song narrates much of Dani's life, starting with her birth in Mississippi and apparently culminating with her death in the badlands, by a man "gunnin'" from North Dakota, while en route to Minnesota.[5]

Dani first appeared in the 1999 song "Californication", which includes the lyrics "Teenage bride with a baby inside/Gettin' high on information" although the girl's name is not specified . She was next mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 2002 single "By the Way" as "Dani the girl". Kiedis commented: "When this funky groove came up it struck me as a perfect place to actually tell a story. It sort of revealed itself to me that it's been the same character, just kind of developing. At first I didn't realize that I was writing about the same girl."[6]

Guitarist John Frusciante used various instruments and effects devices in order to achieve the textures and treatments used throughout the song, including Mellotron, Moog effect pedals, and a Doepfer modular synthesizer, used for the filtering and processing of pre-recorded tracks. Although it is sometimes low in the mix, the main riff, (which is heard primarily in the first verse) plays throughout as an underlying tone. The one-minute guitar solo at the end of the song is an adaption of Jimi Hendrix's intro to "Purple Haze", with the effects kept very close to the original.

The working title of the song was "Wu-Tang" because Smith's drums sounded similar to those on the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), though they ended up a bit more like Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama".[7]


Shortly after its release, the originality of the song was questioned on the Dan Gaffney Morning Show on Delaware based news/talk radio station WGMD 92.7 FM.[8] Two of the station's talk show hosts, Dan Gaffney and Jared Morris, alleged that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had plagiarized Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1993 hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance". To demonstrate, they presented audio snippets of both songs, both side by side and simultaneously (i.e. on top of each other) several times. They stated that the chord progression, key, and the lyrical theme of the songs (both produced by Rick Rubin) showed "startling similarities" and urged listeners to "decide for themselves."[8]

Although the chord progressions sound similar, they do in fact differ as "Mary Jane's Last Dance" follows "Am, G, D, Am" (A Dorian mode), while "Dani California" follows "Am, G, Dm, Am" (A minor). University of Chicago musicologist Travis Jackson said the songs' chord progressions were similar, but were a "pretty standard groove" in music and not necessarily evidence of copying.[9]Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" even bears a strong resemblance to "Waiting for the Sun", a song by The Jayhawks from their 1992 album, Hollywood Town Hall. Both Petty and the Jayhawks song feature Benmont Tench, a member of Tom Petty's backing band, The Heartbreakers. The Jayhawks were even an opening act for Petty in 1992.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Petty denied rumors that he planned to sue the Chili Peppers and said, "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike." Petty went on to say that he was amused when The Strokes openly admitted that they took the riff for "American Girl" and used it in their song "Last Nite".[10]

Dani California peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 (remaining for two weeks at that position) and it's the 2nd song to debut at number 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart after R.E.M. in 1994 and before Linkin Park in 2007, remaining at the location for 14 weeks.[2] In the UK, the song fared even better, finding itself at the number 2 spot for one week, and eventually remaining on that chart for over 15 weeks. It also stayed 12 weeks at number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song also became a cross-over hit to pop and adult contemporary radio peaking number 5 on the Adult Top 40 chart, their 1st Top 5 and Top 10 single on the chart beating Scar Tissue at #11. The song also hit number 25 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.

The song is among the few tracks the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded which have broken the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] It was a success, with "Dani California" accumulating over 500 weeks collectively on over 20 charts.[2]

The song is offered as a playable track in Rock Band and is exportable to Rock Band 2 but not in any future versions of the Rock Band series. On November 8 a patch made the song playable in Rock Band 3.[11] The song is used in the two Japanese live-action films, Death Note and Death Note 2: The Last Name, both directed by Shūsuke Kaneko. In addition, "Dani California" was used in the promo for the fourth season of Sons of Anarchy.

Music video

A frame of the "Dani California" video showing Flea and Anthony Kiedis honoring funk.

The music video for "Dani California" premiered on MTV on April 4, 2006. Directed by Tony Kaye, director of American History X (who was only accepted after initial choice Mark Romanek declined), the video is a quasi-chronology of the evolution of rock music; the band performs the song on a stage, but in a variety of outfits representing important figures and movements in the history of rock, with band members have transformed to famous musicians.[4] The main idea of this video was taken from well-known Russian clip "Rock-n-roll This Night" recorded by the group Chaif in 1996.

Flea affirmed that "[The band] mainly did eras, not actual people: rockabilly, British Invasion, psychedelia, funk, glam, punk, goth, hair metal, grunge, and ourselves being the sum of all those parts."[4] While the band's appearance was intentionally generic in each scene, obvious nods were made to certain specific artists, including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Parliament-Funkadelic (as Flea was dressed like Bootsy Collins), David Bowie (as Flea was dressed like Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust persona), Slade, Sex Pistols, The Misfits' Glenn Danzig, Poison, Nirvana and The Red Hot Chili Peppers themselves.[12] The video finishes with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as themselves, occasionally flashing back to the imitated transformed artists featured earlier in the film.

The video received ten nominations at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards; it won the award for Best Art Direction, failing to win its six other nominations for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Rock Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. The video was also nominated for an MMVA for best international video.

Track listing

CD single 1 5439 15759-2
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Million Miles of Water" – 4:06
CD single 2 9362 42925-2
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:48
  3. "Lately" – 2:55
7" picture disc single 5439 15758-7
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:48
12" Picture disc single
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
Promotional single PR015735
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
iTunes EP
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:47
  3. "Lately" – 2:55
  4. "Million Miles of Water" – 4:05

Chart performance

Chart (2006) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[13] 8
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 9
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[16] 1
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[17] 1
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[18] 3
Denmark Airplay (Tracklisten)[19] 1
France (SNEP)[20] 57
Germany (Official German Charts)[21] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 7
Italy (FIMI)[23] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 7
Norway (VG-lista)[26] 5
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[27] 41
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[28] 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[32] 6
US Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 1
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 5
US Billboard Pop Songs 25
Preceded by
"World Wide Suicide" by Pearl Jam
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
April 22 – July 29, 2006
Succeeded by
"Steady, As She Goes" by The Raconteurs
Preceded by
"Speak" by Godsmack
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
May 6 – July 29, 2006
Succeeded by
"Animal I Have Become" by Three Days Grace


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[33] Gold 35,000^
Sweden (GLF)[34] Gold 10,000x
United States (RIAA)[35] 2× Platinum 0*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "KTZB Radio Station Interview".  
  2. ^ a b c d "Red Hot Chili Peppers: Artist Chart History".  
  3. ^ "49th Annual Grammy Awards – Red Hot Chili Peppers".  
  4. ^ a b c Stadium Arcadium ( 
  5. ^ "Song lyrics". 
  6. ^ YouTube – Red Hot Chili Peppers "Dani California"
  7. ^ Harris, Chris (February 8, 2007). "Road To The Grammys: Chili Peppers Experiment With Sounds, Wu-Tang Beats On Stadium Arcadium - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "A Petty Case of Plagiarism". BC Magazine. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Latest News: Petty vs. Chili Peppers, Townshend Explains Song and More".  
  10. ^ "Petty to Peppers: Andy Greene".  
  11. ^ "RB 3 Title Update Coming 11/8 – Black Hole Sun & Dani California and Hide Song Option". 
  12. ^ Michaels, Mitch. "The Self-Service Edition: Dani California Video". Ask 411 Music. 411 Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  13. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  14. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  15. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Awards".  
  18. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert }} into search. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Danish). Tracklisten. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  20. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  21. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  22. ^ "Chart Track: Week 18, 2006". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  23. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Top Digital Download. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  24. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  25. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  26. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". VG-lista. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  27. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert }} into search. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  28. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  29. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Singles Top 60. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  30. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  31. ^ "Archive Chart: 2006-05-13" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  32. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Singles".  
  34. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certifications 2006" (PDF).  
  35. ^ "American single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links

  • WGMD 92.7 podcast Comparison of Dani California to Mary Jane's Last Dance
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